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DeadSet Records 12/05

AVANTASIA ‘Moonglow’

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There seems to be common misconception that music genius is dead. That somehow in recent years when we lost the likes of Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Prince that we closed the door on their ever being talented musicians like that walking amongst us again. To me that belief seems very narrow-sighted, perhaps the modern age doesn’t like looking to the future or perhaps the tall-poppy syndrome of today doesn’t like placing the title of music genius on somebody that is already walking amongst us mere mortals. Well I would like to buck that trend and bestow that title on Tobias Sammet.

Why, you may ask. Well when you sit down and listen to Avantasia’s brand new album Moonglow it all becomes very clear. Sammet doesn’t just write music, this man writes art. A strange feeling seeps over you when you listen to this album, it doesn’t feel like you are sitting down and listening to an album… instead it feels like you are walking the halls of one of the great art galleries in the world and perusing a cacophony of hand-crafted masterpieces on the walls.

To some perhaps the words ‘rock opera’ will send a chill through to their heart, but obviously those people have never listened to one penned by Sammet. Moonglow proves what some of us have known for a long time – this is all about heart and soul not a pride project of being able to put together a cast from his little black book. The key ingredient to making Moonglow work is that the people on Sammet’s list have pure talent.

From the opening strains of ‘Ghost In The Moon’ you know you are onto something special – the music seems to soar without doing anything special while Sammet’s poetic lyrics feel like they could have easily been lifted from some classic fantasy novel buried away in a Parisian antique bookshop. As you listen to the music here you realise that everything just seems to come together with the magical touch of Sammet. With ‘Book Of Shallows’ he brings together guest musicians Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian), Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids), Jorn Lande (Masterplan) and Mille Petrozza (Kreator) and has them all working in perfect unison. The fast paced vocals match the melodic vocals to a tee and what he has created is pure bliss.

Sascha Paeth’s guitar playing reaches a whole new level on ‘Alchemy,’ ‘Requiem For A Dream’ and ‘Moonglow’ the latter also featuring amazing vocals from Candice Night (Blackmore’s Night). As the album goes on it keeps hitting great new heights – the slower ‘The Raven Child’ has a rare acoustic beauty while the vocals lift it up to make it memorable, it is firmly etched into your mind by the time the chanting part helps it reach its crescendo.

It seems like every track has something that makes you want to remember it, from the haunting vocals on ‘Invincible’ to the impressive backing vocals of ‘The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ through to the stunning cover of ‘Maniac’ which features Eric Martin from Mr. Big.

Moonglow is an amazing album – pretty much a work of art, and the fantastic thing about it is that we will all get to see it come to life in front of us on the stage very, very shortly. Tobias Sammet you are a music legend!

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